ATLANTA -- For years, a Gwinnett lawmaker has pushed for a national sales tax to replace the federal income tax.
Now, another Gwinnett lawmaker is making the same pitch for the state government.
Sen. David Shafer, the Duluth Republican who is serving as Senate president pro tem, dropped two bills this week that could convert state funding to the consumption tax. The move, he said, could make Georgia more competitive with places like Florida and Tennessee, which do not charge an income tax.
"I've always believed we should tax consumption instead of production," Shafer said, echoing the argument for the federal FairTax, which U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall has advocated since taking over for the original sponsor John Linder after his retirement from Congress.
Along with other members of the Republican leadership, Shafer has proposed two constitutional amendments that could shift the state's tax structure. The first would cap the income tax at its current rate of 6 percent, adding the cap to the Georgia Constitution, while the second would limit any increase in sales tax to off-setting the income tax.
"It would create a pathway for us to move to a fair tax, a consumption tax," Shafer said. "I intend the legislation to begin a conversation."
For an amendment to the constitution to go to voters, it must pass both houses of the General Assembly with two-thirds of the vote.
The income tax cap proposal has been sponsored by every member of the Senate Republican Caucus, which means it has the support of two-thirds of the Senate already.
But since the earliest an amendment could come before voters is November 2014, Shafer said he doesn't expect the proposal to move swiftly through the legislature.
"We'll be building support for these ideas over the next two years," he said.